TB MALAYA Launch Photo

TB MALAYA Launch

TB? Di ba madaling nang gamutin yan? Problema pa din ba yan sa Pilipinas? (TB? Isn’t that easily cured these days? Is that still a problem in the Philippines?) Unfortunately,  tuberculosis (TB) is still the 6th leading cause of morbidity and mortality among Filipinos, with the Philippines listed as one of the 22 high-burden TB countries in the 2014 Global TB Report of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2014). Another growing concern is the emergence of multi drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) cases.

Misinformation and misconceptions about the causes of the disease, lack of access to information about TB and TB services  as well as the stigma associated with the illness are some of the  factors contributing to delays in seeking health care.

To help address this need, the TB Malaya project was initiated in November 2013 by Mildred Pancho, herself a former TB patient with XDR-TB, and her husband Stuart Pancho, a nurse with 9 years of experience in the Programmatic Management of Drug-Resistant TB (PMDT). TB Malaya, which in Tagalog means “TB Free” aims to disseminate information using real-life experiences of people affected by TB using social media, thereby promoting more positive behaviours and attitudes towards TB and MDR-TB among patients, their families, health workers, and the community at large. Both Mildred and Stuart strongly believe that knowledge is the key to finally achieving the vision of a TB-free Philippines.

In 2015, the Tropical Disease Foundation, Inc (TDF).  joined forces with the Panchos and sponsored the creation of the TB Malaya website www.tbmalaya.org . The website was launched on Aug 26, 2015 at the Microtel by Windham at the UP Technohub, Quezon City. Attending the launch ceremony were representatives from TDF together with an independent consultant in the field of TB and the Programmatic Management of for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis (PMDT), representatives from the Department of Health NCR and NTPMO, the Philippine Red Cross, USAID/TASC, Oxfam, PhilCAT, various PMDT treatment and sattelite centers in Tayuman, the Lung Center of the Philippines, Tala, San Lazaro Hospital TDF – STC, and the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc., the Philippine Business for Social Progress, Ideals, and Peacemaker’s Circle Foundation, Inc. Also present were TB patients and bloggers as well as a representative from the Philippine Star.

Currently, the site is fully operational and is linked to social media through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. In the future the administrators hope to target a wider audience by producing video informercials that can be accessed and used by anyone who wants to spread awareness about tuberculosis.

Visit the website now www.tbmalaya.org